I got to thinking the other day about life. From time to time lately, I have really started to ponder this thing we call life. Living with a chronic disease or life threatening illness can really put you in a headspace where you start to question what is life all about?
Many people talk about realising what is really important when faced with their own mortality. In particular when you have a shortened life expectancy; daily impact from your illness or condition, and/or chronic pain – there is often a real impact on the way you view and live, life.
In these fast paced, competitive, money focussed “me” times of the human race, it is all too easy to get caught up in the idea that life is all about what you can get out of it. We see that we need to get the latest stuff – but we miss the point that these things do not make us happy.
People then seem to pass this message on to their kids so early – little ones are taken to 4 different classes each week – music, dance, sport, extra tuition – all driving towards the ultimate goal of being a “celebrity”, being “rich”, “successful” and supposedly “complete”. Social Media has made this explode and competition to be a celebrity or an “influencer” is relentless.
What we can fail to realise is that at the end of our lives none of this will matter and none of this will be of any consequence to anybody at all. What will matter will be the people we have touched in our lives, the impact we have had on other human beings, the experiences we have had in our short lives and the way in which we lived these lives.
That is what we have put in to life.
In my opinion a life lived graciously, generously, with joy and passion and connected to other human beings on this amazing planet – is FAR more valuable and treasured than one lived to excess…
Looking at the universe and seeing all those planets out there, which at one stage of the history of our solar system may have been just like our earth and who knows, may have harboured “life”, makes you realise that we are totally at the mercy of the environment in any case and that human history may one day end just the same way, perhaps becoming a planet of gas and volcanic activity, viewed from space by a new and emerging life form.
Who knows, anything is possible – just look at the miracle of a new baby and you can see this.
Living with a chronic disease such as diabetes can also make your view of life become very insular, very focussed on how horrible you feel today, how hard it is, how unfair it is – this then makes life seem very small and hopeless.
If you can take some steps back and look at the bigger picture of life, this is where diabetes (or whatever you have to manage) can seem smaller and the possibilities of life, despite your health conditions, can loom large and joyful.
When you feel anger rising because your kids did not clean their rooms, do their washing or turn out the light; when you become stressed because your house is a mess, or you have not had a chance to tick off all the things on your “to do” list; when you scream at the car in front of you for going too slowly – just try to stop, breathe and remember that every minute lived is a gift – and that it is in your control to shift the way you feel about all of these daily pressures to ensure a happier and more peaceful ride, no matter what challenges you face.